Let’s face it… there are millions of fitness blogs and websites out there these days. While some are just out to grab a chunk of the 80 billion dollars the health and fitness industry generates every year, most of them are written by amazing people, who really know what they are talking about. They usually have years of education and experience behind them and typically, they are experts at what they do.
I am not one of these people.
Some have even gone through amazing personal transformations or life changing experiences that have made them grow as individuals. Using their dynamic personalities, they share their stories and experiences to help motivate and inspire others to overcome their own personal obstacles.
I’m afraid I’m not one of those people either.
Frankly, I am pretty much the opposite of those guys . I know very little about health or fitness, and for the record, I’m really not even sure what a blog is.
In fact, I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood making incredibly bad life choices. Nothing too terrible mind you, just the basic run of the mill poor health decisions that plague most adults in our society today: smoking, drinking and eating Awesome food (yeah, I call it Awesome food because even though it will kill you, foods like cheese fries, tacos and calzones are freaking Awesome, and I refuse to say an unkind word about them). Add the fact that I got little or no exercise most of my life and you can probably start to get an idea of my current physical condition. I have never been what anyone would refer to as athletic, nor have I ever been physically fit (except when I joined the Army, but I’ll save that story for later).
So why the heck would I be writing a healthy lifestyle blog? That’s a real good question and to be honest, I’m really not too sure myself. I guess the best way to answer that is to go back a few years.
Like most folks my age, I woke up one day, and realized to my horror that forty-some-odd years of my life had passed and I was in terrible shape. My blood pressure was elevated, along with my cholesterol. My knees and back were shot from what I liked to think was the result of working hard as a young man, carrying things like lumber and concrete forms around for a living; but in reality it was more than likely the result of being lazy as an old man, carrying around twenty pounds of fat that I didn’t need. The only smart move I had made in the past few years was giving up smoking, but because of the all the years I had smoked, my lungs were junk. The mistakes from my past had started to creep up on me and the time to pay the proverbial piper was drawing near. I figured if I didn’t do something quick, my time on this planet would be drastically cut short.
So I did what every adult does when the realization of their pending senior years become painfully evident, and the thought of being an invalid was becoming a reality: I made a vow to change. Big deal right? We’ve all done that at one time or another. I was serious though, I looked in the mirror and I said to my reflection, “Today, I am going to do things different! I am going to eat right and get in shape starting right now!” Looking back, I don’t think my reflection even believed me. He may have been nodding with me, but I think he knew I was full of shit.
Two or three days later, I woke up and made that vow again when my first vow didn’t stick. This time I wasn’t fooling around though. I knew where I went wrong and I wasn’t going to let it happen twice. A few weeks later I had to make that vow again after slowly reverting back to my evil ways. Then again… and again…. You get the idea. The pattern just kept repeating itself and I kept slipping back into my old routine. Like so many other folks I know, I’ve done this dance with my vices over and over for years. They say the road to disaster is paved with good intentions, well apparently the road to nowhere is too, because even though my intentions were good, I always lacked the drive and determination to effectively change my habits. There was something I wasn’t doing right, but I didn’t know what it was.
As I approached my 50th birthday, I realized that I was in the worst shape of my life. I was close to 235 pounds, my blood pressure and cholesterol were at the point of needing to be medically treated, and I had fallen into a severe state of depression. My fatness had even contributed to me losing my job, as it became difficult for me to meet its physical fitness requirements, and my employer kindly asked me to go be fat somewhere else (more on that later as well). Suddenly my unhealthy lifestyle had stopped being a game. The joke was over and I could no longer accept that fact that growing older meant I had to be fat and out of shape.
That’s a big part of the problem too, because when your fitness level declines and you become weaker and overweight, you reach a point that you feel that there is nothing you can do. You start to accept the fact that inevitably as you age, you are going to be old, fat and out of shape. To alleviate the thought of your impending downward spiral, you start to make light of your situation by cracking jokes at your own expense, and possibly make fun of those people you see working out and eating right. You also like to hang around with other people like you, who share your feelings of futility and this helps justify your decision to be old and fat. This group consensus – that it’s too late to turn back now – makes you feel better about yourself and your decision to be unhealthy becomes justified. After all, there is nothing you can do about it, so you may as well have fun while you can and enjoy life while you’re still here. We’re all gonna die one day, right?
I had a lot of friends like this, and we all made light about our age and declining health. One of my buddy’s favorite sayings was “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time!” He’d proclaim this proudly when we were out drinking and some killjoy would tell us we should slow down. As we got older, he’d also love to say ” No one dies healthy,” when it was suggested he should give up some of his bad habits. Well, he was right, he’s gone now. His good time ended at the ripe old age of 46. He was also right about dying healthy… he wasn’t. His life was cut short by an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm most likely caused from tobacco use, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. His death hit me like a punch square in the face. Harder, since I’ve been punched many times in my life, and often it made me re-think they way I should talk to people, but never hard enough to make me re-think my life. His untimely and unnecessary passing lit a fire under my ass to look at the way I’d been living and finally make a change, not just in my habits, but my whole friggin attitude. That is where I needed to start. He did not need to die young, and neither do I. It is true that I’m not here for a long time, but whatever time I do have left, I don’t want to spend it heavily medicated or dragging an oxygen bottle around on the back of my scooter while I’m shopping at Wal-Mart. Don’t get me wrong, I got nothing against scooter shoppers, I just really don’t ever want to be one of them, and now I believe that I don’t have to be.
So this brings us back to the original question:
Why am I writing this blog?
Because I want to find out if it is too late. After treating my body like a landfill for the last fifty years, am I too far gone to turn things around? Can an average working guy who has never been physically fit – EVER – alter his lifestyle in a manner that will allow him to get in shape and get healthy enough to enjoy his golden years?
And possibly the most important question HOW DO I DO IT?
That’s what this page/blog is all about (I’m still not sure what the difference between page and a blog is). I’m going to explore as many health and fitness options as I can. I already do CrossFit and running, and I’ve tried Yoga, but I’m also going to try things like Spartan Races, maybe some martial arts and other goofy shit that may be fun and even possibly be beneficial. I’ll write about what it was like for me at least and if it sounds like something you may want to try, then knock yourself out, because you know if I did it, then anyone can. I’ll also try a variety of diets and nutrition plans and hopefully find an acceptable way to eat healthy without totally giving up all the food I love, because like I said before, food is Awesome. It is one of the things that makes life worth living and there is no sense in reaching my 100th birthday if I have to eat tofu and grass for the next fifty years. Plus I absolutely refuse to live in a world without Ice Cream.
Maybe all of these things will work.
Maybe none of them will.
Maybe we can be here for a good time, as well as a long time. I don’t know, but as I try these different health and fitness options, I’m not going to do anything that the average person couldn’t do. Any class or fitness program I try will have to be something anyone could do without dramatically changing their daily routine (at least not in the beginning, but who knows? You may quit your job to become a professional paddle-boarder). So there will be no month-long retreats to live in a commune, or crazy weekends spent in a sweat lodge looking for my spirit animal. Everything I do will be geared to those of us in our fifties – or approaching our fifties – who want to find a way to get healthy and have a good time doing it. You have to make the decision to get healthy alone, but you don’t have to do it alone. Together, we won’t only survive the Filthy Fifties, we will come out of them better than ever.